Today’s post is about one of my experiences teaching the Healthier Living with Chronic Conditions class. One of the very first things we teach participants in this class is to make action plans. These are small, achievable steps that they commit to accomplish in the next week. These action plans are steps that get them toward a larger goal. The goals do not even have to be health related. Each week we go over what we accomplished during the last week.
During our first week, one of the participants, verbalized that he thought his action plan wasn’t as good as some of the other action plans. We assured him that we wanted to hear what he had to say and we wanted to support him in whatever he wanted to work towards. He shared that he enjoys woodworking but he had stopped doing it over a year ago. He had been making a bowl out of redwood and was turning it on a lathe. While making the bowl he had a mechanical problem with the lathe and the bowl was shattered. He got so discouraged that he just quit. He not only quit making that bowl, he quit making anything in the workshop – for months and months. His goal was just to get back in the workshop and start the bowl. He didn’t promise to get any specific steps done. He just wanted to break through the barrier that had been keeping him from trying again.
During week two we shared our progress on our action plans. He shared that he did get into the workshop and started on another bowl. His subsequent action plans reflected the progress he wanted to make each week on the bowl. On week four He showed up to class with the bowl in hand. We were all so excited to see this tangible representation of his achievement.
The story of the broken bowl was a powerful one for me. So many times we get derailed from working on our goals or our dreams because something went wrong. In my life this has been reflected many times. Back in the days when I would try different diets I would hit a point where I just totally blow it. After that it always seemed so difficult to get back on track and I would just give up. Sometimes the same thing would happen when pursuing other life goals. Right now I am working towards my Masters in Nursing degree. I have hit a point in the program where I need to complete some self-study courses and take some tests. I have been at a standstill for months and I haven’t busted out the study materials and knocked out these courses. It’s not difficult…I just find myself stuck. So, like Herm from my class, I am going to use the power of group accountability. It’s silly for me to stop after getting this far. I am making an action plan to get back on track and break the studying into smaller goals and I’m going to hustle to get this done. Will you hold me accountable? Can I do the same for you with one of your goals?